Debswana introduces online procurement system
Botswana’s second largest private sector employer and world‘s leading rough diamonds producer Debswana Diamond Company has begun a process to migrate from manual paper based procurement process to digitised online procurement system for its suppliers , a press release from the company states.
According to the statement from the 50-50 Botswana-De Beers joint venture, the online procurement and sourcing system will start running beginning of November this year for everyone doing business with the company. The company indicated that the end-to-end automated system, known as SAP Ariba, will remove complexities and allow Debswana and its suppliers to manage all processes from contracts to payments, proposals, purchase orders and invoices in one platform.
According to Debswana the SAP Ariba network is a dynamic, digital marketplace with more than 3.3 million companies excess of 20 000 product and service categories in over 190 countries. Project Manager of the online procurement system, Tshepo Mokgethi, indicated that the platform will also make it easy for Debswana to accelerate sales cycle while lowering the cost of sales, finding new suppliers and buyers, ensuring timely and predictable payments, negotiating contracts, strengthening customer relationships and increasing customer retention.
“SAP Ariba will be the only gateway to do business with Debswana for both existing and prospective suppliers after the implementation in November 2018,” he said, adding that all companies, both new and existing will be required to register for free on SAP Ariba in mid-September 2018. Debswana this week hosted SAP Ariba Focused Group Discussions, which will be followed by series of Clinics and workshops during August and September 2018, where the new functionality and specifically the supplier self-registration process will be demonstrated to the Suppliers.
Botswana is the world’s largest diamond producer by value, producing about 21% of global output. Debswana is the largest producer of rough diamonds in the De Beers Group of Companies, as well as being Botswana’s largest taxpayer. Roughly 80% of the profits generated by Debswana is accrued as government revenue for the benefit of the people of Botswana.
Being the largest single company in Botswana Debswana is a key business for the entire economic value chain, apart from mining related sectors the company engages, Debswana is also a major source of business for other industries, ranging from logistics, construction, small medium enterprises, property amongst others. In 2014 the company spent in access of 5 billion pula on local procurement, with Botswana based companies accounting for BWP 4,037 million, while citizen owned companies enjoyed business amounting to over 694 million pula in just one year.
The company has also assessed and registered 134 new citizen-owned companies in its supply chain database eligible for participation in the multimillion Debswana procurement cake. Debswana states that In addition to the returns of mining operations generated for its shareholders, the company contribute to local economic development through ,direct employment of local contractors ,Preferential procurement from local and citizen supplies.
To develop small medium enterprises in 2014, Debswana also introduced a program call Tokafala which is a partnership between the company, De Beers, Anglo American and the Botswana government. The Program aims at promoting economic development and stimulates employment creation by supporting small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) both financially and access to markets. In addition to loans and seed funding, a key aim of Tokafala was to improve the access of SMMEs to markets and supply chains, and to create links to business opportunities with Debswana, De Beers global sales function in Gaborone and other partners.
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Stargems Group establishes Training Center in BW
Internationally-acclaimed diamond manufacturing company StarGems Group has established the Stargems Diamond Training Center which will be providing specialized training in diamond manufacturing and evaluation.
The Stargems Diamond Training Institute is located at the Stargems Group Botswana Unit in Gaborone.
“In accordance with the National Human Resource Development Strategy (NHRDS) which holds the principle that through education and skills development as well as the strategic alignment between national ambitions and individual capabilities, Botswana will become a prosperous, productive and innovative nation due to the quality and efficacy of its citizenry. The Training Centre will provide a range of modules in theory and in practice; from rough diamond evaluation to diamond grading and polishing for Batswana, at no cost for eight weeks. The internationally- recognized certificate offered in partnership with Harry Oppenheimer Diamond Training School presents invaluable opportunities for Batswana to access in the diamond industry locally and internationally. The initiative is an extension of our Corporate Social Investment to the community in which we operate,” said Vishal Shah, Stargems Group Managing Director, during the launch of the Stargems Diamond Training Center.
In order to participate in this rare opportunity, interested candidates are invited to submit a police clearance certificate and a BGCSE certificate only to the Stargems offices. Students who excel in these programs will have the chance to be onboarded by the Stargems Group. This serves as motivation for them to go through this training with a high level of seriousness.
“Community empowerment is one of our CSR principles. We believe that businesses can only thrive when their communities are well taken of. We are hoping that our presence will be impactful to various communities and economies. In the six countries that we are operating in, we have contributed through dedicating 10% of our revenues during COVID-19 to facilitate education, donating to hospitals and also to NGOs committed to supporting women and children living with HIV. One key issue that we are targeting in Botswana is the rate of unemployment amongst the youth. We are looking forward to working closely with the government and other relevant authorities to curb unemployment,” said Shah.
Currently, Stargems Group has employed 117 Batswana and they are looking forward to growing the numbers to 500 as the company grows. Majority of the employees will be graduates from the Stargems Diamond Training Center. This initiation has been received with open arms by the general public and stakeholders. During the launch, the Minister of Minerals and Energy, Honorable Lefoko Moagi, stated that the ministry fully endorses Stargems Diamond Training and will work closely with the Group to support and grow the initiative.
“As a ministry, we see this as an game changer that is aligned with one of the United Nations’ Six Priority Sustainable Development Goals, which is to Advance Opportunity and Impact for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). What Stargems Group is launching today will have a huge impact on the creation of employment in Botswana. An economy’s productivity rises as the number of educated workers increases as its skilled workmanship increases. It is not a secret that low skills perpetuate poverty and widen the inequality gap, therefore the development of skills has the potential to contribute significantly to structural transformation and economic growth by enhancing employability and helping the country become more competitive. We are grateful to see the emergence of industry players such as Stargems Group who have strived to create such opportunities that mitigate the negative effects of COVID-19 on the economy,” said the Minister of Minerals and Energy.
Food import bill slightly declines
The latest figures released by Statistics Botswana this week shows that food import bill for Botswana slightly declined from around P1.1 billion in November 2022 to around P981 million in December during the same year.
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Moody’s Reaffirms African Trade Insurance’s A3 Rating & Revises Outlook to Positive
Moody’s Investors Service (“Moody’s”) has affirmed the A3 insurance financial strength rating (IFSR) of the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) for the fifth consecutive year and changed the outlook from stable to positive.
Moody’s noted that the change in outlook to positive reflects the strong growth in ATI’s membership base – that has resulted in improved portfolio diversification, strengthened capital adequacy, and the good profitability despite the challenging operating environment. In addition, ATI benefits from its preferred creditor status (PCS) amongst sovereign member states which protects it from the risk of default by member sovereigns through securing recoveries against claims paid on guarantees.
The strong membership and equity growth are some of the key considerations for the consistent reinstatement of ATI’s A/Stable rating by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s rating, over the years. Also supporting the rating affirmation are; consistent improvement in financial performance, commitment of its shareholders who continue to uphold the preferred creditor status, its high quality and conservative investment portfolio as well as strong relationships with a number of global reinsurers that provide significant risk-bearing capacity.
With the change in outlook to “positive”, ATI is now better placed to provide enhanced support to its member countries, attract additional shareholding and grow its portfolio. The positive outlook is an indication that if ATI continues to demonstrate its strong underwriting performance and ability to recover claims under the preferred creditor arrangements, among other factors, an upward pressure towards an upgrade may be generated. The Moody’s press release can be accessed from here
Commenting on the rating, Africa Trade Insurance Chief Executive Officer Manuel Moses said: “This positive revision is in line with our 2023 – 2027 strategic objectives in which we set to improve our rating outlook to positive in the first year, and achieve an upgrade of at least “AA”/Stable rating by both Moody’s and S&P within this Strategic Plan period. We aim to achieve this by doubling our exposures and increasing our capital to more than USD1 billion.”
ATI’s mandate is to provide trade-credit and political risk insurance, as well as other risk mitigation products to its member countries and related public and private sector actors. These insurance products not only directly encourage and facilitate foreign direct investment as well as local private sector investment in our member countries, but also contribute to intra- and extra-African trade.
About The African Trade Insurance Agency
ATI was founded in 2001 by African States to cover trade and investment risks of companies doing business in Africa. ATI predominantly provides Political Risk, Credit Insurance and, Surety Insurance. Since inception, ATI has supported US$78 billion worth of investments and trade into Africa. For over a decade, ATI has maintained an ‘A/Stable’ rating for Financial Strength and Counterparty Credit by Standard & Poor’s, and in 2019, ATI obtained an A3/Stable rating from Moody’s, which has now been revised to A3/Positive.